Avid Sells Consumer Audio and Video Lines; Reduces Staff Another 20%

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On the surface, it’s hard to say exactly how the latest news from Avid will affect Pro Tools users, if at all.

Avid sheds weight -- again.

There were two aspects of the company’s announcement today. First off, Avid is selling its consumer audio and video product lines: The audio portion will go to Rhode Island-based inMusic, which is the parent company of Akai Professional, Alesis and Numark, among other music production, performance, and DJ brands. The formerly-owned Avid products involved in this transaction include M-Audio and its multiple lines of keyboards, controllers, interfaces, speakers and digital DJ equipment and other product lines.

Meanwhile, Avid – based in Burlington, MA — made sure to say it will continue to develop and sell its audio products on the pro side: Pro Tools software and hardware, and PT’s associated I/O devices including Mbox and Fast Track.

The new owner of Avid’s consumer video editing line will be Corel Corporation, headquartered in Ottawa, Canada. The products covered there include Avid Studio, Pinnacle Studio, and the Avid Studio App for the Apple iPad, plus a number of other legacy video capture products.

The second aspect of the company’s announcement today was a by-now predictable wave of layoffs. The human toll here is sobering – 20% of the workforce – or approximately 350 people. Some Avid employees will transfer to the acquiring companies in each case, but a lot of talented audio and video development people now have to figure out what their next move will be.

Clear and Present Danger

As we posited at Avid’s last such announcement, when they restructured and shed 10% of the workforce last October, a future without Avid — and therefore, Pro Tools — is pulling even a little more clearly into focus.

True, the sale only affects consumer divisions, which as Peter Kirn points out in CreateDigitalMusic accounts for only US$91 million of the US$677 million in sales Avid cleared in 2011. But still, Avid’s size has been going steadily in the same direction as its stock price for a long time now — down.

This does not seem like a company motivated from the top to pull itself out of its tailspin. While Avid CEO Gary Greenfield presented a positive picture of the moves — “The changes we are announcing today make Avid a more focused and agile company,” he said – this corporation as a whole must be feeling bleak about its prospects.

It would be great to be wrong, but a turnaround at Avid does not seem in the offing. Instead, it’s much more sensible to ask how much longer this company has got.  Its intensely dedicated pro audio team has been relentlessly updating the world’s industry standard music and sound production platform, but they must do so balanced on an ever-shakier foundation.

What’s Your Backup Plan?

At this rate, how much more support do Pro Tools users  have in front of them? How long will their systems last past that? And as we asked back in October, what company would really want to step up and conquer this apparently profitless – and often thankless – sector when Avid’s leadership ultimately inverts into a void?

Music production will surely change again when that happens.

For all who currently owns a Pro Tools system, there’s little else to with today’s announcement than put it on the “Wait-and-see” pile.

For everyone in music production and post with a potential system changeover in their future, however, the red flags are flying stronger than ever: A future without Pro Tools is a real possibility. How will you prepare?

— David Weiss

  • Wow. Hadn’t been following that. Thanks Dave. Time to start finally transferring all my sessions to audio. : )  Glad I haven’t invested more in a new PT system. Although, maybe someone will buy them out and begin anew?

  • Considering their vast market-share in the studio industry etc, I have a hard time picturing it vanishing…I would think someone would buy it before letting it disappear.  The IP alone of the name – Pro-Tools has got to have some serious value to it.  Musicians and non-musicians alike know the word. 

    Though this story might induce nightmares about having to use logic, adats, or a tape machine again!

  • Henry Hey

    I currently live in the nightmare of using Logic.  It’s not such a nightmare. Several others choose the same nightmare.   🙂   I would actually like to see PT acquired by a company that was more interested in listening to the consumer (pros) as they develop their product.  Time and time again I think that features go awry and valuable facets are left out. 

  • I think they’re solely concentrating on the Prosumer market. Having one ultimate package and nothing more. It simplifies the development, marketing, licensing, and entire production process for them. Unless I’m wrong here, but I’ve never been a fan of having multiple tiers for one product (it’s like how people get annoyed at deciding between Windows 7 Home/Profesional/Ultimate). I’m not sure about Avid’s 5 year roadmap, but if that’s the case, then I think Pro Tools is as strong as ever, and that to cut out the consumer products is the right call.

  • Mark my words, Propellerheads Reason will be the next King of the Hill when it comes to DAWs not Pro Tools! A few more tweaks and Reason be all a person needs. If Avid doesn’t get it together quick their reign as top dog will suddenly crumble.

    E.I.
    Uplifted Productions, LLC

  • The pro audio division of Avid which makes protools is the only profitable division and this has been true for some time. The video sections of Avid are huge money losers. I don’t think protools is going away, because protools is the lifeblood of Avid. Worst-case scenario, if the company dissolves someone will snatch up the pro-audio division.

  • The pro audio division of Avid which makes protools is the only profitable division and this has been true for some time. The video sections of Avid are huge money losers. I don’t think protools is going away, because protools is the lifeblood of Avid. Worst-case scenario, if the company dissolves someone will snatch up the pro-audio division.

  • Stocky

    A future without Pro Tools is a real possibility. How will you prepare?   SAWSTUDIO my Friends, SAWSTUDIO

  • Guest

    Pro Tools and Media Composer are not going anywhere.  Industry standard software and hardware for real professionals.  Glad they got rid of the Pinnacle and M-Audio garbage.  Trim the fat and get back to taking care of the pros.

  • Guest

    So where do I send my dead M-Audio midi controller now? Based on the nightmare of their lack of customer support on this problem, I can see why they’re getting out of that end of the business.

  • Frank Filipetti

    Pro Tools for the professional isn’t going anywhere!

    f2

  • Probing1

    The biggest user base in the world is the far better featured Cubase product from Steinberg.  Over 1.5 million users in the world and a dominant position in Europe means that this constantly innovating product will be a logical place to land for many disgruntled users of PT and others like Logic – programs languishing in the innovation arena.  My 2 cents anyway…

  • Edddie Siciliano

    Its the structure that is bad. The products are NOT bad. Being a public company and having to perform each quarter is bad for continued product development. Losing important developers and programmers is bad. Euphonix is kicking azz and has some very good folks designing and manufacturing.The ex-Steinberg engineers working there have had a major impact on the feature set and modernization of ProTools and Euphonix products. It works. But what more can they sell? They just canned their COO Kirk Arnold and CTO Tim Claman. And replaced them with…..what? These are major mission-developing positions…..So what now? Maybe they should sell the Audio biz to……Dolby:)

  • Yoerik


     I would actually like to see PT acquired by a company that was more interested in listening to the consumer (pros) as they develop their product. ” 

    True! I’m a huge fan of pt, however I haven’t upgraded to pt10 yet and I won’t in a nearby future. Why? I haven’t been able to use pt8.0.3 till pt9.0.2 for more than 8 months. Paid for support tickets were ignored all the time. It took a lot of public avid bashing on the duc by me and tons of other people, even threatening lawsuits, before avid finally acknowledged and investigated the problem. When it finally was solved, there was no compensation at all for the users who were not able to use their products all that time and spent weeks of debugging and re-installing their systems, even purchasing extra hardware as avid falsely claimed they had seen results with that on their setups. Take a look at protools.ideascale.com… it’s simply ridiculous!

    Most people I know in the audio business love pt. However, everyone seems to agree avid is a terrible company to deal with. I think it’s a shame, because they have an incredibly huge and experienced group of users who are very much willing to give avid all the feedback they need to further develop and improve protools. However, avid simply refuses to listen…